Tag: Painting

Weekly update

The plan was to update this site with the newest research starting from the first week of January, but before I could do that I needed to backup my pc as it has been acting up, and sort through thousands of files. That took somewhat longer than expected, especially as I took a break over the Christmas period. Today I am just going to give a little summary of ongoing activity.

Burgundian research

Burgundian research is going quite well. I have managed to find e-versions of a number of very interesting old books containing exactly the information I was looking for. Updates will be added here over time. Short versions and additional pictures can be found on my Instagram.


With the Covid restrictions this is suspended indefinitely. I don’t think a lot will happen this year. I expect we will be locked up even more in the coming weeks and months. It’s all getting very tedious and depressing.

House hunting

Not going well. With all the Covid restictions it is hard to find anything suitable. Travel over the border is getting more and more complicated. We are trying to get a viewing of a couple houses but do not have much hope of progessing with this soon. Our hopes were to have it round by now but it will be good if it’s before summer. It would be handy to have a larger workspace/studio when I’m done with my classes in June.


Working on my final project for my last year. Again, motivation is very low because classes keep getting suspended, with probably another shutdown soon. I used not to mind working at home, but now it’s the other way round. Being shut in the house almost 24/7, especially in winter, when it’s cold in most of the house and with not much daylight, sucks up the little energy I have left.

I am working on a series of paintings based on a set of medieval paintings but I can’t show any of it here. Here are a couple other paintings I amost finished yesterday. One is based on an old home movie, the other on a painting by Diego Velazquez. They were painted over old paintings and not intended as studies/exercises.

Another combo

Another combo emerged by coincidence. It was a painting I saw on somebody’s art website that immediately rang a bell.

The rather generic description of the file is Doors of triptych with donors. Depicted on the right are David receiving a message and on the left Solomon visited by the Queen of Sheba. The exotic setting is amplified by the man on the left in the right panel wearing an earring, which is quite unusual (imho). The side panels are located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the main panel is located in Rome, in the Colonna gallery (item 149 if I remember well). I have not been able to find a picture of the middle panel yet. It is supposed to depict the Adoration of the Magi (interesting, as the Magi seem to be a recurrent theme in the key paintings in my painting research)

Regarding the information on the side wings, I am relying for the most part on Wikipedia which is often incorrect. It doesn’t really matter that much, though, as it’s about the content, not the metadata.

The right panel, the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon, seems inspired by the Judgment of Otto by Dieric Bouts (detail shown here):

The Queen of Sheba and David are recurring themes in medieval art, so not very unusual.

Now both paintings side by side. Note Otto himself, the kneeling woman and the two men at the back.

The painting by Bouts is dated 1473, the Master’s around 1480. The likeness can be a coincidence, obviously. The Master panel seems to echo the classic Magi visit, with kneeling characters and gold gifts.

Bouts’s characters are well painted but stiff and elongated, and their faces are emotionless. There is more expression in the Master’s faces but at the same time they are sloppy and almost cartoonish.

Both painters were active in Brabant (Brussels and Louvain), so there is also a regional connection.

According to Wikipedia, the Master of the Legend of St Barabara is sometimes associated with Aert van den Bossche. I have been looking at a number of paintings by all of them and there is a huge variety in style, so I can’t say for definite. Another thing to keep in mind is that the painters did not work alone but had workshops and several hands worked on the paintings. And, as mentioned before, copyright was not an issue and stock images were widely used.

In any case, this is something to store in the research where I am trying to figure out the relationships and influences between the painters. As mentioned before, I’m particularly interested in Hugo van der Goes and the Master of Moulins/Jean Hey and the latter’s connection with Anne de Bretagne, the Rolin family and Margaret of Austria.

The Vienna Virgin: copy paste

This is a follow-up on my previous post about Dieric Bouts and the Coronation of the Virgin in the Vienna Museum.

I have only one book about Dieric Bouts specifically lying around, and it’s a catalogue rather than a complete overview of his work. The library has a book with his complete oeuvre but it is not available right now, so that’s something for later.

Even though copying and imitating other painters was extensively done and paintings were executed by ateliers rather than a single person, each painter still has a specific style. I associate Bouts’s human figures with rather stiff, fairly elongated characters and fairly frizzy hair.

When I came across a picture of the Coronation I was intrigued by the third angel on the left because it reminds me of Hugo and Jean Hey, who are of a later date. The painting does not seem to be in the catalogue I have here, but maybe it’s in the library book. Patience is needed.

In the meantime I’ve been going through a number of paintings by Dieric Bouts. I came across a Virgin located at Granada that contains angels similar to those on the Vienna painting. I don’t know which painting came first, though (should look it up at some point):.

Some of the angels resemble those on the Vienna piece closely.



There is even straightforward copy paste work:



Bouts is not very good at painting profiles. For instance on the Hippolyte painting, this figure looks rather clumsy:

Note that this painting was finished by Hugo van der Goes after the death of Bouts, and I’m not quite sure which bits he has done exactly. It’s interesting, in any case, that there is a direct link between Dieric Bouts and Hugo van der Goes.

This is what attracted my attention: the third angel on the Vienna Virgin:


The posture and the face reminded me of the left of the two boys on the Monforte altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes (see earlier posts, nb):

Coincidence, no doubt, still interesting.

Knockdown diary

I haven’t posted anything in ages, nothing about Charles the Bold, and nothing about anything else. Here is a short summary.

Corona is still active. In fact we’re at the start of a second wave, even before the first one ended. No Future is more accurate now than it was in the seventies, if you ask me. The year keeps getting weirder and weirder.

Still house/castle hunting. It got even more adventurous than it was already, but we’re still in the process of preparing our second offer so I won’t write about it today.

We caught a mouse in our kitchen. The cat brought the mouse in, but it escaped and hid behind the cabinets. We set a trap and managed to capture it the second night. The picture I took always makes me laugh:

We didn’t have our end of year exhibition but instead the academy had banners printed with some of our paintings. Came across one of them in the centre of town, kind of funny to see Rogier overlooking the car park (posted a picture on Instagram if you’re curious).

I started well with fruits and such but four months down the covid line, my eating habits have become atrocious.

Brought the half finished Gossaert home from the academy at the start of the summer break. Not sure if I’ll finish this one or start all over again.

Painted a study of Campin. Here is the halfway version, which I like better than the finished sketch:

Painted a few sketches based on old film stills from the family archives:

Painting something based on an old manuscript by Jan van Boendale about the dukes of Brabant. Current state:

Painted another one brush study/sketch, this time of Thomas More. It is not meant to be finished or a perfect copy, it’s just experimenting.

That’s all, folks…

The man with the arrow – Part 5: The key to the lock

The key to the solution lies in a version of the painting that is – according to the scarce information I can find about it – in a private collection in Australia.

Anthony as shown in ‘De eeuw van Van Eyck’

I do not know about the current when, where or what of the portrait but I can reconstruct a little bit of its past with the help of some books I have lying around and scattered information on the internet.

The portrait was part of the Edward Speelman collection, London (Edward Speelman was an art dealer). In the 19th century it was considered to be a portrait of Charles the Bold. It was forgotten about until it was published by Lorne Campbell.

The damaged backside allows to identify the sitter. It shows a barbican containing a flaming brand, surrounded by a golden cord with tassels. Above it are the letters. N.I.(?) E., letters which, as far as I know, have not been identified yet. Below is the device: “AINSI LE VEUL”, which is the second part of Antony’s device. (The first part is “NUL NE SI FROTE”.)

The portrait appears in two catalogues of local exhibitions I have here so I assume it was on display during those exhibitions. The first occasion was during The Brussels Millenium from October 6 – November 18, 1979: “Rogier van der Weyden – Rogier de le Pasture”, City Museum of Brussels. The painting bears number 15 in the catalogue and it is stated that is on loan from the Getty Museum, Malibu, Speelman collection.

The best image of it I have seen so far is in the catalogue of “De eeuw van Van Eyck 1430-1450. De Vlaamse Primitieven en het zuiden.” The exhibition took place in the Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 15 March until 30 June 2002. The portrait bears number 58 and the owner is listed as “Private collection”. With regard to provenance, the catalogue entry lists the following extra information: Before 1895: Robert Jackson, England. In this catalogue it is suggested that both paintings, The Man with the arrow and this one may be based on the same portrait sketch and were executed simultaneously by the atelier of the master.

Maybe the painting has been on display at other places, but so far I have no additional information about it.

Interestingly enough, both Anthony and João became knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece during the same chapter of the Golden Fleece in 1456. Is could well be possible they both had their portrait painted for the occasion? If so, what happened with the painting of João.

In any case there is no doubt about the identity of the Man with the arrow: it is Anthony the Bastard of Burgundy.

Until new information comes to light, obviously.

Nothing is certain, only taxes and death.

Bibliography for all posts

  • Rogier van der Weyden – De man met de pijl – Dirk De Vos, Openbaar Kunstbezit – 1972
  • Website of the Royal Museums of Fine Art, Brussels
  • Website of the Musée Condé, Chantilly
  • Rogier van der Weyden – Dirk De Vos, Mercatorfonds 1999
  • De eeuw van Van Eyck 1430-1450. De Vlaamse Primitieven en het Zuiden. Till Holger-Borchert e.a., Ludion, 2002.
  • Rogier van der Weyden – Rogier de le Pasture – Official painter to the city of Brussels – Portrait painter of the Burgundian court, City Museum of Brussels, 1979
  • The Gentleman’s Magazine, Volume 165, Sylvanus Urban
  • Déchiffrement de l’ex-libris du Grand Bâtard de Bourgogne. Ph. Lauer, 1923
  • Les Primitifs flamands – Micheline Comblen-Sonkes (collaboration de Ignace Vandevivere), Brussels, 1988
  • Pourquoi appelle-t-on les habitants de Tournehem-sur-la-Hem les Sarrazins ? – La Voix du Nord,  24/08/2015
  • Les croniques de Pisé, BnF Ms. Français 9041
  • Archaeologia or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity, Vol. XXVII. Society of Antiquaries of London, 1838.
  • Antoine, le Bâtard de Bourgogne, premier comte de Sainte-Menehould. John Jussy, 2002
  • Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464 – De passie van de meester. Lorne Campbell – Jan Van der Stock Waanders/Davidsfonds, 2009


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